The current SAT essay, required for SAT test-takers prior to 2016, involves much preparation, critical thinking and memorisation of examples. Not only is this essay to be written within 25 minutes, it is also graded in a more qualitative way than the rest of the SAT exam. Grading takes 2-3 experts and is based on objective techniques as well as the presence or absence of literary skill.
There are several common pitfalls of students regarding this essay, such as assuming things about the reader, using vague examples, drawing conclusions in their heads rather than on paper, and of course grammar and vocabulary mistakes.
The following is an example of an essay written in my SAT Essay Writing class, which I believe would score a 5 or 6 from SAT graders.
SAT Essay Prompt: Can deception sometimes have good results?
Humans lie all the time; sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally. One who says that they have never lied is a liar. Deception is used for many purposes, ranging from self-benefit to protection of others. I believe that white lies may bring good results temporarily, but they can undermine relationships in the long run. Several examples from literary works, adages and current occurrences clearly demonstrate that honesty always prevails.
John Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’ depicts the failure of deception through the death of Lenny. In the novel, George constantly tells Lenny white lies in order to protect Lenny, his only friend, from the truth. Lenny, a clumsy and awkward oaf, is frequently the target and victim of insults. His naïve mind is very sensitive and fragile but George constantly lies to Lenny to reassure and cheer him up. George’s use of deception is quite reasonable because it brings happiness to Lenny’s life. However, his lies only create temporary positivity within Lenny’s world as George’s friendly deceptions ultimately result in Lenny’s quick death. Lenny’s happy world is created by George’s white lies, which distracts Lenny even until the moment of his death. Hence, ‘Of Mice and Men’ demonstrates the failure of deception in the long term.
As shown through the famous story of ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’, deception decreases the trust between people, which can have bad results. The boy’s deceitful cries for help accrued the shepherds’ lack of trust in the boy, When the boy indeed cried for help, the shepherds’ mistrust of the boy ultimately resulted in the boy’s death. The boy’s deception may have provided temporary entertainment for himself, but his inappropriate actions did not end well for him. Therefore, this allegory poses the deception, even if it is for fun, cannot have good results.
Both examples shown demonstrate that deception cannot have favourable outcomes because it enfeebles trust between people and creates false feelings within people. Many may feel obliged to pretend to know something in order to relate with others and build a relationship, however, trust is essential to built and maintain a relationship. The boy who cried wolf epitomizes the importance of trust as the boy’s deception of the shepherds only results in his own death. Deception undermines trust and its fraudulent nature can create many problems. For example, George constantly reassures Lenny that everything will be OK, even though he knows it wont. He does this to protect him. But not everyone cares about Lenny’s feelings. George’s deception made Lenny extremely vulnerable to insults and it created problems for George too. Subsequentially, George realized the failures of deception, which is part of the reason of Lenny’s death.
The analysis of Steinbeck’s novel and ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’ prove that deception, indeed, cannot have good results. It’s nature is subversive to both the deceiver and its victim, thus honesty is the only way to stop the calamities of deception.
Even though the author is a bit repetitive in his analysis, he clearly demonstrates his points with well-founded examples and well thought out character analysis. His essay could have been made stronger with a shorter crunch, and a third example. However, this essay is a very good example of a well-planned and well written essay. Excellent vocabulary and grammar.